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Old 06-08-2011, 11:53 PM   #1
twowheels
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Fictionwise vs. Amazon for Periodicals

I've been considering subscribing to the ebook versions of Analog and Asimov's, but am a bit concerned with Amazon's take on archiving back issues of periodicals.

Since these magazines are the types of things that you might want to re-read or share interesting stories with others I'm a bit concerned with Amazon's policies. If I understand them correctly (purchased from Amazon):
  • The periodical is automatically sent to one of my devices
  • I can read the periodical on that one device, though I can (now) also open it on my Android phone (color might be nice for these periodicals, though I'll still prefer eInk and the larger screen for the actual reading)
  • If I want to keep a past issue I have to save it on my Kindle manually or strip the DRM (never tried it so I don't know how hard it is, not asking for instructions).
  • If, for some reason, I have to (or choose to) replace my device, I can no longer read the manually saved issues
  • 7 issues will be kept in my archive, all past issues are NO LONGER AVAILABLE TO ME

Is my understanding correct?


Alternatively I can buy the periodicals from Fictionwise... the benefits there are that I can get the DRM free MultiFormat version in a richer formatted (I assume) ePub, or even richer formated (I assume) PDF depending on where I'm reading it, which seems to be a big plus.

The drawbacks seem to be that it's more expensive (not much, but a little bit) and, worse, I have to buy each issue individually and download it manually. Does Fictionwise not have a way to subscribe and have the periodical mailed to me each month?

Perhaps I should just give in and buy the paper version, or, cheaper still, be content with the 50 year old issues on PG. :-)

Last edited by twowheels; 06-08-2011 at 11:56 PM.
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Old 06-09-2011, 12:17 AM   #2
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Someone else will have to answer regarding Amazon subscriptions, but as for Fictionwise:

FW used to have subscriptions, but has them no longer. People have been complaining about that.

You can, however, save a significant amount on back issues (generally up to 6 months' worth are available before you can no longer purchase them) by waiting for Fictionwise's discount coupons and buying the stuff then. I bought about a half-year's worth of old Asimov and Analog during their 60% off coupon sale for about $1.20 each for the single-month issues.

And you can re-download them from your archive at any time, even after they've "expired" from the on-sale listings.

The formatting is actually fairly plain-ish, as far as I can tell. I think they get sent to FW in some intermediate format that gets auto-converted to ePub, rather like Smashwords' Meatgrinder process. I haven't tried the PDF versions to see if they're any different (though I think maybe publishers can submit fancier PDFs if they've got them).

FW has some sort of service on their website where you can send your purchases to your Kindle's e-mail address, but you have to be logged-in at the website to do it (but then you have to be logged-in at the website to buy anything anyway). And there's an associated charge at Amazon if you do it via 3G (but your profile says you've a K3 so you'll be using the WiFi anyway, presumably).

Hope this helps.
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Old 06-09-2011, 12:36 AM   #3
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So, it sounds like you're saying that the supposed benefit of the multi-format isn't as great as I imagined. That pushes me a little more toward the Amazon subscription, on the assumption that I can figure out how to set aside my past issues on my home fileserver.
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Old 06-09-2011, 12:44 AM   #4
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Well, if you're looking for fancy formatting which makes it look just like the print magazines, I think you'd be doomed to disappointment with any reflowable e-version.

Lest you think FW's versions are bargain basement mimeograph knockoffs, I'll add that they do include the colour covers and interior black-and-white illustrations for the stories and such.

But you wouldn't be getting drop-caps or embedded fonts or special indenting on the poetry or anything of that sort.

Frankly, I'd consider the DRM-free portability, transferability, and the fact that they don't die after 7 days (or however long the expiry date is) and I can redownload them to be the main attraction of FW's MultiFormat copies.

Also, cheap with coupon pricing.

But if an Amazon subscription works better for you in terms of just-in-time-delivery convenience, by all means, go with it.
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Old 06-09-2011, 03:45 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ATDrake View Post
Well, if you're looking for fancy formatting which makes it look just like the print magazines, I think you'd be doomed to disappointment with any reflowable e-version.
Yeah, I didn't expect full magazine quality formatting, but I was hoping that they'd use each format to its fullest potential. PDF could very closely mimic the print version, ePub could include embedded fonts, text flow, etc, and mobi could be just the basics... oh well.

I'll consider it... the coupons are nice, though the automatic monthly subscription would be nice. I saw on their website that they had subscriptions, but there's no subscribe button like it claims -- it looks like your explanation that they stopped doing it is true.
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